BIRTHDAYS~How times have changed.

Me and my sisters. Maybe 1988?

Tomorrow is January 15.  In our family that means a birthday.  My sister will be 41 and that is significant for me because she is 17 months older than I.  You know what that means, don’t you?

Ya, 40. This year. Oh dear.

And so today I was thinking back on birthdays and their significance.  On how we celebrate now and how we celebrated then.  I must admit, I’m not a big birthday party fan.  I like to plan parties, I like to celebrate people but for some reason birthdays have never been a big priority.  I think somewhere along the way I got spoiled.  Yep, I admit that I have been spoiled.  You see, in our home when I was a kid, getting a birthday present(emphasis on ONE) was a big deal.  Having a birthday cake with candles was an even bigger deal, but having a party was pretty much unheard of.  I only remember one birthday party in my life. It was my 7th birthday and I had lots of friends there. My mom planned a treasure hunt and all I really remember is the orange pop sloshing around in my belly as my friends and I ran through the bushes looking for clues.   I don’t remember the presents(if there were any), I don’t remember the treasure for the hunt and I don’t remember the cake.  I just remember having fun with my friends.   Isn’t that what a birthday party should be?   For some reason the birthday party industry has taken this small, treasured family event and turned it into yet another commercialized, greedy, “what’s-in-it-for-me” occasion.  That’s why I’m spoiled.  I just don’t buy into that.  I know of families who only have parties for their kids where they invite a minimum of 30 people just so that their kid can get more gifts.   I know of people who spend $500 or more EACH and every year on their kid just so that they can have the “BEST BIRTHDAY EVER”!! Yuck.  Sad and pathetic.

My sister, who turns 41 tomorrow(see me reminding her of that!) had a memorable 16th birthday.    Actually, I don’t know if she ever had another birthday party.  Can’t recall.   All I know is that her 16th birthday is the most memorable birthday in the history of our family.  We will never forget it~ me, my mom and my 2 sisters.  Never.

You see, my mom was a single mom, barely making ends meet.  We were poor.  We knew we were but we never let it stop us from enjoying life.   Even when the fridge and cupboards were empty we just carried on.  On January 15, 1986 there was no food in the cupboard, no ingredients for birthday cake.  Not much really to eat at all.  It was just before payday and mom couldn’t afford to go grocery shopping.  All that was in the bottom of the freezer was liver.  Now you have to realize that we were still farm people.  My dad and my grandparents would butcher once a year and fill the freezer.  Liver was always the last thing to be eaten.  I actually love liver. No, really, I do.  When it’s cooked right.  Breaded, fried in butter, with bacon and onions.  That’s the way to cook liver.  But in January of 1986 my mom cooked liver the only way she knew how…straight into the cast iron fry pan.  Cooked in oil. No breading, no onions.  If you’ve ever had liver cooked this way you know it’s pretty much the 1st cousin to a rubber tire. Same texture, same taste.

And eggs.  Yes, eggs. That’s all that was in the fridge.

So, on my sister’s 16th birthday 25 years ago, we ate liver and eggs.  Happy birthday sister dear.

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